Obese police

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Monday, June 25, 2012


THIS is not a case of "onli in da Pilipins." The global war against obese police officers has started. And the war has spilled in the Philippines, reaching into Negrense shores.

In the United Kingdom, a policy review called for police Bobbies (what the British media called the "blobbies") to undergo running tests and assault course-style assessments to ensure officers can carry on chasing criminals.

By September 2018, all Bobbies should pass an assault course-style circuit test including crawling, jumping, climbing, running up stairs and dragging a "body" away from danger. Anyone who repeatedly fails fitness tests will be put on restricted duties, forfeit almost £3,000 a year from their pay, and could ultimately be dismissed.

In Pakistan, portly police officers are required to shrink their waistlines below 38in (96cm) to shape up or off it's the streets they go and, like the blobbies, suffer pay deductions.

In the US, the Massachusetts State police force has to pass regular fitness tests to keep their jobs. They are given one hour of paid exercise time four days a week to help them stay fit. Being fit means being able to fend off sleep apnea whose risk factors are blamed on obesity, obesity and obesity.

The officers who had sleep disorders reported more instances of "uncontrolled anger" toward suspects and citizens and increased absenteeism and serious administrative errors. As a research article published in The Journal of the American Medical Association noted, sleep apnea-common in the obese-is tightly linked to hypertension, heart disease and higher risks of road accidents.

Over here in our Negrense shores, the Bacolod City Police Office grapples with overweight or obese cops, which include seven high ranking officers and 69 officers ranging from Police Officer 1 to Senior Police Officer 4.

City Police Director Ricardo de la Paz read the riot act on these overblown people, especially the high ranking officers. Shape up and ship out.

Listed as "obese," the Bacolod fat police are required to attend the twice-a-week weight loss management program at the city police headquarters. De la Paz said their body mass is disproportionate to their height, making them overweight. He said after the weight loss management program, the fat police will undergo physical fitness tests thrice, and if they fail this means their removal from the service.

De la Paz said being overweight is unhealthy and hampers the effectiveness of police officers in performing their duties. Most of the BCPO law enforcers agree with de la Paz on the PNP's weight loss management program.

How does our police force fare nationwide? A recent survey found that over 3,000 police officers assigned to PNP headquarters at Camp Crame, or half the force there, are overweight and will have to undergo an eight-week slimming program.

The findings prompted PNP Director General Nicanor Bartolome Jr. to warn the 145,000-strong nationwide force they could lose their jobs if they are physically unfit. The test involves a middle-distance run, pull-ups, push-ups and sit-ups, as well as an electrocardiogram and body mass indexing.

There would be no room for fat cops in the service. "According to PNP regulations, failed Physical Fitness Test ratings are grounds for separation from the service," warned PNP spokesperson Senior Superintendent Generoso Cerbo Jr.

From a human rights perspective, the policy on obese police officers might sound discriminatory. Yet as a State institution, these unfit people also have the obligations to serve and protect the citizens. So a slimmer and fit police force is de rigeur for human rights compliance.

Please email comments to bqsanc@yahoo.com

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on June 25, 2012.

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